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Re: UMI Dissertation Abstracts

From: Zbigniew Fiedorowicz <fiedorow@math.ohio-state.edu>
Date: Tue, 06 Jul 1999 14:17:52 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: www-math@w3.org
Cc: fiedorow@math.ohio-state.edu
>Let's call the SGML language X-Math for now.  I gather that these
>translations to X-Math, which have superseded the TeX source, can only
>be viewed by subscribers.  The question then is whether UMI will
>provide subscribers either with viewers or with formatters that
>produce DVI for viewing.
There is no indication on their web pages that anything has changed.
The new format is directly imbedded in regular HTML (within a table)
which is generated by some cgi script (as was previously done with
directly imbedded raw TeX). Older abstracts are still served up this
way using TeX. Only the latest abstracts have been converted to imbedded

When viewed with a regular browser one just sees some fragmentary
garbage where the X-Math markup occurs between the surrounding text.
The X-Math markup can only be seen when one views the source of the
web page.

I haven't gotten any response yet about this from their tech support
email address.

>How is the translation from TeX to X-Math done?

I presume it is done by some software, but I don't know for sure.

>Can reasonable TeX or, at least, reasonable DVI be recovered from the

I doubt it, but I don't know for sure.

>With article-by-article human intervention anything is possible
>although error prone.
>(Automatic translation to such a language by the method of Eitan
>Gurari's "tex4ht" -- using the intelligence about TeX, the language,
>of TeX, the Program, would probably give results that are "good enough
>for government work" and that may even be very useful.)
>Is it reasonable to assume that the TeX sources were created by
>the dissertation authors?  If so, then I would be surprised if
>there is not at least some loss of "content" in such a translation.

Yes, the TeX sources were created by the dissertation authors.
As for loss of content, I noticed at least one example:
 $Q$ ---> <italic>Q</italic>

Zbigniew Fiedorowicz
Received on Tuesday, 6 July 1999 14:18:58 UTC

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